What is Silicon Valley, and where is it located? History of Silicon Valley

Few know what Silicon Valley is. Meanwhile, this is a fairly well-known territory in the United States, where half of all research facilities of the United States in the field of computing and electronics are located. Located Silicon Valley in California, but on the official maps of the territory under this name does not exist. This is just a conventional name of the place.

what is silicon valley

Confusion with translation

As is often the case, in Russia, under this name, we mean not that residents of English-speaking countries. It is rumored that some translator once translated the word "Silicon" (Silicon) as "Silicone" (Silicone), and since then Silicon Valley in Russia is called Silicon. Therefore, there is an important clarification in this topic: Silicon Valley and Silicon are the same in one case, although in another they are completely different concepts.

Real Silicon Valley in the USA

Note that in San Fernando, there is also Silicone Valley (Silicone Valley), but they do not carry out scientific research and development, they shoot porn films there. But most often in Russia, when they talk about Silicon Valley, they are referring to Silicon. Therefore, the following discussion will be about her.

Where is Silicon Valley?

As already mentioned, there is no such thing as an official geographical area of ​​such a valley. However, any self-respecting investor or businessman can easily say that it is located in California (USA) and represents a world center where developers of high-tech projects gather. It is here that global innovations are born.

Silicon Valley

Under Silicon Valley, they understand the place where there are many sites for developing new projects, where high-tech start-ups are born and venture capital investors interact. First, under the Silicon Valley of the United States was meant the territory, which is 20 miles from San Francisco and occupies 5 small towns:

  1. Mauten view.
  2. Santa Clara.
  3. Palo Alto.
  4. Sanninvale.
  5. Cupertino.

But today, the valley has grown substantially, and now it is flattened from San Francisco to San Jose, inclusive. It is San Jose is considered to be the unofficial capital of this territory.

silicone valley usa


It all started with Stanford University and its industrial and research park. The key role in the creation of Silicon Valley was played by Frederick Terman, who was first a university graduate and then a teacher. He was worried that graduates could not find work in the valley, which is why most of the students went to the East Coast after graduation. As a result, Frederick Terman began to support his students and gave them the opportunity to open companies near the school. Among the first such students were David Packard and William Hewlett. They developed the sound frequency generator, and Terman helped them put it into commercial production. This was the beginning of the famous company Hewlett Packard.

Later, other students began to set up companies in the valley. More or less known is the invention of the klystron tube, which is associated with the use of microwave radiation.The authors were Professor of Physics William Hansen, Sigurd and Russell Varian - the university provided them with a rental space in exchange for profit. Later, Stanford began to receive contacts from the government.

In 1956, William Shockley created the company Fairchild Semiconductor. She produced transistors based on solid semiconductor material - silicon. Today it is one of the largest in the field of electronic industry. That Fairchild Semiconductor became the basis for the creation of companies Intel, AMD. Partly thanks to William Shockley Silicon (Silicon) Valley got this name.

Time passed, new firms appeared, and already in 1975 there were a lot of companies creating software and hardware.


The main entire valley is the state of California with the following major cities: Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Riverside, San Diego. It is California that is considered the largest state in the United States with a gross domestic product of more than $ 2 trillion, which is equal to 2014 Russia's GDP. Here lives the largest number of billionaires - about 80 people from the famous Forbes list. Also, this state is the third largest in the United States and the most densely populated.

Silicon Valley itself in this state is among the three major US technology centers.Stanford University is the intellectual core of the valley. This research institution is one of the most prestigious in the world, it is highly rated in the rankings of universities in the United States and around the world. About 7,000 students and 8,000 graduate students study there annually. Many graduates after graduation find their place in any of the companies located in Silicon Valley. Some lead them, others create their own projects (sometimes successful). Less prestigious are the universities of San Jose and Santa Clara (the oldest private university), as well as the University of California.

where is Silicon Valley


Speaking of what Silicon Valley is, it is impossible to ignore the companies that were formed here, have their own representative offices, offices and even development centers. There are about three thousand enterprises here, and at the same time their number is growing, as the conditional territorial boundaries of Silicon Valley are growing. For example, about a thousand companies are developing software.

In the history of Silicon Valley, there were a lot of companies and startups, not many of which achieved success: the majority was eliminated.The most successful companies in Silicon Valley are the following:

  1. Varian Associates is one of the first companies that entered into an agreement with Stanford University, is engaged in microwave technology.
  2. Hewlett – Packard is a well-known computer manufacturer. It is the first successful global valley company that has achieved tremendous success in the global market in the field of hardware and software. In the Russian market, HP is known for its laptops, data storage devices, printers, scanners.
  3. Eastman Kodak is a company that is better known around the world as Kodak. It is the first company to create a digital camera. It was founded in 1881, but in 2013 it became bankrupt.
  4. General Electric is a global corporation that operates in various industries. Produces medical, energy, household, electrical equipment. He is also engaged in mechanical engineering, including the creation of aircraft engines.
  5. Lockheed Corporation - an enterprise carrying out defense-industrial orders also works in the space industry. The main customer and consumer of the company's products is the US government.
  6. Intel is known worldwide for its microprocessors. Based on them, many computers and laptops have been created, which are actively sold all over the world. It also produces other components for PCs, network equipment, servers.
  7. Apple is a well-known manufacturer of computer hardware and software for it. Tablets, computers, mobile phones - the main activity of the company. It is also one of the leaders in the field of creating software.
  8. AMD is the leader of Intel, which also develops chipsets, computer components, microprocessors.
  9. Adobe is a software maker. Known for its famous photo editor "Photoshop".
  10. Altera is a successful developer of integrated and logical systems.
  11. eBay - provides online auction and payment services.
  12. EA (Electronic Arts) - a company operating in the gaming industry. Creates and distributes games.
  13. Google is the world's largest search engine. It also deals with advertising and cloud technologies.
  14. Facebook is the largest social network.
  15. NetApp is a developer and manufacturer of disk systems and data storage devices.
  16. Nvidia is a graphics processor maker.
  17. Tesla Motors is an electric vehicle manufacturer and infrastructure developer for them (charging stations).
  18. Xerox is a manufacturer of office and computer equipment.
  19. Yahoo! - The search network, which is inferior to Google, but is the second most popular in the world.

Now you understand what Silicon Valley is. But let's look at it from the back.

Silicon Valley Company

Success factors

They are, in fact, quite a few, but the main ones include the following:

  1. Innovation and creativity of the participants. Many technologies were created precisely because of these factors.
  2. Lack of vertical control.
  3. Accessibility of scientific technologies, resources and advanced technologies.
  4. High motivation, focus on the success of all employees.
  5. Close interaction between different companies and their representatives despite the highest level of competition between them.
  6. Ideally developed technology of start and promotion of projects from the very initial stage, as well as their intermediate financing.
  7. Very low government regulation, excellent legislation, not an inhibiting process. Here business and capital make major decisions.
  8. Interest from investors who invest in new startups and old companies millions (or billions) of dollars.

the essence of silicon valley


It is worth starting with the fact that here the number of unsuccessful failed projects far exceeds the number of successful ones. If you believe the statistics, then 95% of startups in Silicon Valley, even if they get funding, do not achieve success. 19 out of 20 projects can not take place. Famous brands like Intel, HP or Google and the rest are just the tip of the iceberg.

The second drawback is the high cost of housing and infrastructure in general. Since wages are high in Silicon Valley, the cost of living is increasing here. If someone starts his career in the valley, then he has to look for affordable housing in the suburbs or on the outskirts. This also applies to medical care, schools, public transport, etc.

High competition among the participants

A highly competitive environment for the participants is the third feature of the existence of the valley. Investors, employees, entrepreneurs, startups - all work under constant stress, as there is a high probability of dismissal or failure of the project (the statistics have been seen above). Many employees of large and small companies are experiencing constant psychological problems here, most of the entrepreneurs recognize the presence of family problems and depressions.The number of citizens in the territory of Silicon Valley with psychological problems is much higher than in the rest of the United States.

Russian Silicon Valley

Russian equivalent

Not only in the USA there are similar territories, which are the center of information and technological development. There are analogues in other countries. In particular, the Russian Silicon Valley is located in Skolkovo. 400 hectares of territory were allocated for it, but the project was launched only in 2010. Its mission is to create a similar American ecosystem and mobilize resources in the field of applied research, as well as to realize a favorable environment for the implementation of scientific research.

Analogs in other countries

In the UK, there is a special technology park located around the University of Cambridge. Denmark and Sweden also have the largest technology parks, which mainly operate in the field of biotechnology, medicine and food production.

In China (Zhongguancun) there are factories and offices of large companies such as IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, etc. In total, there are about 20,000 holdings registered, and their revenues are over 400 billion dollars a year.

In Taiwan, there are large Asian and global companies working in the field of creating and improving semiconductors and other devices.

India is also not lagging behind - there are about 200 institutions of higher education in Bangalore. The country is one of the centers of world pharmacology, space research and aeronautics.

Informatics Valley project started in Turkey in 2013. 3,000 hectares were allocated for it. Here they are planning to build a city for 150 thousand people who will serve research institutes and factories for the manufacture of innovative equipment.


Now you understand what Silicon Valley is. This is a conditional territory where large global IT companies (and not only) are located, focused on global markets. They successfully master modern technologies and create breakthrough technologies, since for this purpose ideal conditions have been created here. This is the essence of Silicon Valley - to develop old and create new technologies, which many companies successfully do. Other countries are trying to follow this example, but today there is no such scope in any of them.

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